What else would you like to share?

Craig: One thing that I wanted to bring up is I know you have a pretty extensive background in martial arts, in terms of the number of years you put into it, starting very young and continuing on. One question I had for you is it seems to me that at some point you had to step away from that and allocate less time to it. I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts or anything you wanted [00:08:00] to say about having to change the primary love of your life from one … They’re both physical activities, but they’re fundamentally very different.

Adam: They are, and what you just said, Craig, is wonderfully accurate. I really did have to flip the switch on the love of my life. Since I was a kid my father was in the Vietnam War, and his father, my grandfather, taught karate to the World War II troops. So he knew judo and some of the old-school basic karate that we see in the [00:08:30] old movies. He was a combat instructor and taught Asian martial arts to our guys so that they could have a better understanding of hand-to-hand combat. He taught my dad. My dad talked about that here and there. So as a kid I always thought “That’s super cool.” What kid doesn’t want to be a Black belt and doesn’t want to do karate?

I was always interested in it, and on top of that, I was bullied at school. I was very short. I was the second shortest person in my class. For what it’s worth, the shortest person in my class was my main bully, ironically. [00:09:00] Yeah, so of course, that affected me. So at age eight or nine, I want to say nine, my parents and I decided that we want to look at martial art schools.

We walked around. It’s pretty funny, in downtown Emmaus, there were two karate schools directly across the street from each other. We drove into the parking lot of one. We were walking up, and you know how schools have glass windows so that you can see the class from outside? I looked through the window, and I saw a girl who was probably a teenager, and she had a Purple belt [00:09:30] on. I knew enough to know that that was kind of a high rank. So like “I’m gonna watch her for a second.”

So I’m standing on the sidewalk looking through the window, and they were doing a drill. She was kicking a pad in front of her and a pad behind her, like a front kick and then a back kick. She just looked awful. She was terrible. It didn’t look cool at all, and I thought “I don’t think I want to learn here. That girl’s not very good.” So I told my dad “I want to go across the street and go to the other place.”

So I went to the other place. Lehigh Valley Martial Arts was the name of the school, and I met the instructor, Paul Miller. [00:10:00] It was awesome. I really liked him. I really liked the other instructors that were at the school. I liked the kids that I saw. So I ended up joining. I can thank that Purple belt for … Whoever that girl is out there, I appreciate it.

Craig: The anti-example.

Adam: The anti-example. Exactly. She was the perfect contrast for me. So I joined that school, and that was my passion. That was my dream as a kid. All I wanted to do was be a martial arts instructor. In my late teenage years, as I was in college, I was a martial arts instructor. I sort of [00:10:30] achieved my goal and was right on the edge, or the premise, of at least being a head instructor for my very own school. Right about when that happened I was also getting involved in parkour. It was a difficult choice, and I had to decide “Do I want to continue being a martial arts instructor, or do I want to take my parkour coaching career a little bit more seriously?”

I made the hard choice to do parkour. The [00:11:00] reason behind that is pretty straightforward. It’s pretty honest. It’s that the more I got involved in the martial arts culture and the martial arts community, the more I saw that it was largely driven by ego. You didn’t necessarily have to be really good to be a martial arts instructor. You didn’t even have to know what you were doing necessarily. You just had to look good and act tough, or be big and be large, and throw your weight around physically.

Craig: Play the part.

Adam: Or metaphorically. Exactly. You could really [00:11:30] act a martial arts instructor, and a quick Google search will show you that that happens across the world. Don’t get too much time Googling though, you’ll get depressed. The parkour community, on the other hand, I have yet to meet someone who I consider better than me that is not obviously better than me. Anyone out there who says they’re good at parkour, they can’t do one jump without it being shown one way or another.

Craig: Right. Movement makes it immediately obvious.

Adam: Right. Exactly right. It’s a transparent art. It’s a transparent skill. You could be a big [00:12:00] karate guy and wear whatever color belt you want to wear with however many stripes on it you want, and you can toss a guy around who’s psychologically conditioned to give into that. You can either convince yourself or everybody around you or both that you’re really good, but when it’s you versus a rail or you versus the empty space of a very large jump, you either are or are not. There’s no guessing. So that element of the parkour culture, which is a sense of humility versus your obstacles, as opposed to ego versus [00:12:30] your students, really drew me in the direction of parkour.

What else would you like to share?

Craig: Hey, let me give you the wheel here for a bit. Is there anything else you’d like to share? Anything about coaching development, community development, or just random things I haven’t asked you?

Adam: I think coaching is the thing I’m most passionate about. That’s what I think I’m going to choose to share random thoughts on. There are a lot of parkour athletes in the world. [00:25:00] There’s a lot of them, and there are many that are unbelievably skilled. Just last weekend, you and I were both at an event, and there were a lot of dudes there who were doing a lot of really cool jumps. Many of them were doing things I would not even … Yeah, they jumped further than my peripheral vision [inaudible 00:25:16] watch them. It became a tennis game, turn your head side to side, watching. Incredibly skilled athletes, and that’s just the beginning.

Across the whole world there are Russians and Danish and [00:25:30] Korean and Chinese and Japanese, and there are athletes in Saudi Arabia who are doing things that I can’t do. It’s amazing how many athletes there are out there. What we have to ask ourselves is “Why are we even doing parkour, and what is it that we could do with parkour?” To me, if we’re not finding effective ways of sharing what parkour truly is, then we are sort of failing. By that I mean, while you as a specific athlete or a practitioner may truly enjoy parkour for yourself, [00:26:00] and it may benefit you,

I challenge you to ask yourself whether it’s benefiting those around you, and what perceptions are you creating to those around you when you make that show reel video, when you post your biggest move onto Facebook for all your friends to see? Just look at the comments. Read the comments from your friends, and ask yourself what exactly message is it that you are transmitting to everybody around you? Do they think you’re crazy? Do they think what you do is insane? Is it your aunt [00:26:30] telling to you be careful, and some random girl telling you how cool you are, or is it people being inspired by you? Maybe it’s a mix of those things, but look at those comments when you post that video and see really what effect you’re having.

If you see an affect that is maybe turning people away, either in the sense that they think you’re crazy and what you’re doing is dangerous, or even that they go “That’s cool, but I can never do what they are doing, so I’m just going to see parkour as this distant thing.” If you really care about the benefits that parkour has to offer, maybe take a second to think [00:27:00] about what influence you’re having on them, whether you’re drawing people in or pushing them away with what you’re doing.

So as a coach, as someone who’s passionate about involving people in the process of parkour, I’m challenging any and all listeners who are parkour athletes to consider if there are ways that they can learn to share the message of parkour and the value of parkour to the people around them. There are a lot of way to do that, and I’m happy to go into more detail, but even just the most basic coaching methodologies of how to share and how to listen and [00:27:30] how to see what people need, how to break down the movements that you know into bite-size pieces that they’re going to be able to enjoy and draw from as just a few examples of things that you can do to help share parkour in a more effective way.

If I could wish one thing upon the world, it would be that everybody had that mentality, because if they did we’d have five times as many people practicing this art and doing wonderful things in the world.

What else would you like to share?

Parkour’s Hedonic Treadmill

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

When we think about Parkour we mainly think about how to reach the goals we set for ourselves. We don’t think about is the influence others can have on us and how we view ourselves thru our own training style and accomplishments.

The reason I mention the hedonic adaptation is because in Parkour we rarely become complacent with ourselves. We are always pushing for the next big goal or challenge we see, even if it is just outside our reach we still work toward it until we can firmly grasp it. However, it is only recently I have discovered that we can fall into the trap of always feeling like we “suck” and we need to progress at a much faster rate to achieve satisfaction with ourselves and our training.

I think it’s quite normal after being in the game for 2+ years to feel like we need to constantly progress. After all, the first two years is usually the prime time we “learn the tech” and start actually feeling like we’re getting better compared to when we started. That feeling is normal and it applies to all humans, no matter what it is, we suffer from this trait of adaptation and complacency when it comes to new experiences. When we look at parkour, a sport/discipline that constantly introduces us to fear and doubt within ourselves, we are dealing with overcoming challenges daily. When we overcome challenges we previously couldn’t it is such a euphoric feeling, its one of the reasons I think we all love parkour so much. We feel so accomplished and we feel like we broke down the door that was holding us back but this feeling is short lived. It may last for the rest of the day or the next 5 minutes after a successful jump but regardless how long the feeling last, eventually we are looking for that feeling again.

We want the feel of accomplishment because it’s how we judge where we are as an athlete and as a person. We want to know we can keep achieving great things and reaping those rewards and feelings from it. Although one of the hardest things about being in this community is that there is almost no way you can avoid falling into the trap of comparing your training and accolades to that of someone else you feel is “better” and I use that term loosely. There have been times in my own training where I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t training as hard as I should be because I wasn’t progressing as fast I used to. Its only now I’ve learned that my progression is slower for two reasons. 1) I am older and now coach parkour as a job/career. Because of this I am more careful with my body as not to approach a challenge without taking careful steps to secure my safety. This is normal because as a coach, if I get hurt I can’t work and that means no money, plus it also means negative feelings will start taking over because training is also my therapy and being injured only adds to the pessimistic attitude I can exhibit if I don’t train enough. 2) As my training continues the challenges I am looking at have gotten increasingly harder. I am not doing the same kind of jumps I was when I started, which in turn means that I am getting better even if I don’t complete the jump, it is just harder to feel that sense of accomplishment when the task or goal is not achieved, only attempted. These two factors were lost on me before, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t hit the jumps that others were, especially when I had a harder time conquering the same jumps others made look so easy. Factor in the fact that most of the time these practitioners were much younger then me and I started to feel almost obsolete like I wasn’t good enough anymore.

It took almost a year and a half but I came to the conclusion I was becoming complacent in my training and my overall behavior towards life. I was comparing instead of investing in myself. I realized the reason I became upset was because I was trying to emulate what I saw others do and because of that the adaptation to my progression led me to become almost depressed and lower self worth. I was so used to the daily grind of going out and leading our weekly sessions that I didn’t realize how I made the transition from playing the game to teaching the game. I got used to having Parkour be my life for so long I almost lost that feeling of accomplishment even after smashing certain challenges.

It was only after a recent trip to Pinnacle Parkours Philadelphia gym that I rekindled that feeling and truly became okay with my style and where I was at in the world of the Parkour community. I realized that it was okay to not be the best; it was okay to compare myself but not judge myself on only my athletic ability. It was almost as this new feeling hit me and I felt alive again, I knew that my style of parkour was about conquering my own fears and doubts. I use the physical jumps I am scared of to help achieve a higher level of self-esteem. For so long I thought I was getting used to the daily grind and parkour was becoming part of that for me, and that was scary because it started to feel like all the time I invested into training and getting better was almost worthless. Like when you break up with someone after 5+ years of being together, a part of you just felt like you wasted time while the other part is trying to convince you that it wasn’t.

The hedonic treadmill is something I think we face as humans because we get complacent and we lose the sight of the original goal. I started training because I wanted to do ninja stuff and survive a zombie apocalypse, now its become more for me. It’s my job, my hobby, and it’s become my lifestyle. I’ve made countless new friends and relationships because of it and I’ve done things pre-parkour me would lose his mind over. It was okay to get complacent and feel those moments of self-doubt because that was a way to show me how to appreciate what I almost started taking for granted.

So my friends I will leave you with this, when you feel like your not achieving what you set out to do, Parkour oriented or not, do not let that overwhelm you. It is a sign from the universe that you are being tested to see if this is what you really wanted. Those who find there way back to the path will realize that there are more things to accomplish and more goals to conquer and those who don’t will find there next passion. It’s okay to get used to something, but it’s just a test to see if you can find the passion within that keeps you going.

What else would you like to share?

So, first off – open a new window in your browser, get onto youtube, and find an old Parkour video that you are in, which you feel is from a good time. It might be a sampler, a jam video, an event, whatever.

How was it? Things are different now, right? It’s not like it used to be then. I miss that.

I hear these sorts of remarks a lot from traceurs of all kinds, including a lot who are now training less, or not at all.

I want to talk about this idea of striving to keep going, keep training.???????????????

Our community as a whole, and your individual smaller communities are always changing. People come and go, jams grow and disappear, your training goes up and down. You change. And at the end of all that, there’s a much smaller number of people still out doing Parkour years later compared to the number of people that have been a part of it, or connected with it along the way. This change really seperates people. It’s not going to be like it used to be. You can’t ‘go back to training’ as you once did. That one Jam that you remember is a small part of your whole experience that you remember fondly. It’s one highlight in a long journey, which isn’t just highlights. What’s the constant in these memories?

It’s Parkour.

Parkour is still there, its still something that you can go and do. What you have to ask yourself is – is it the true idea of training Parkour, really living it, that attracts you? Or is it the memories of your initial achievements, trips with friends, conversations on a rooftop after a late night training session? These things are really important – they inform your experience of Parkour and they form part of the discipline for each person. But they change.

The most accomplished traceurs in my eyes are the ones who always find time for training. Regardless of their circumstances, commitments or priorities – there will always be Parkour in their lives. That is extremely hard to achieve I think and is one of Parkour’s greatest and most constant challenges. It’s an honest and brutal discipline, and not everyone can rise to the challenge of doing Parkour for a lifetime. At the real essence of it, is the challenge. It’s always there, if you want it. Maybe the challenge is to just go out and train for the first time in a while. Maybe it’s to stop training the same stuff and be honest about where your comfort zone lies and ask yourself if you stay in it. Whatever the challenge don’t go looking to the past – look forward. Move forward. Find what Parkour truly is for you, and just you, in each moment and then in the next – because that’s the one relationship you know can always be there:

You, and Parkour.

What else would you like to share?

Do and Jutsu in Parkour

When I asked what I could but explained the difference between the Judo and the jujutsu, My sensei used the metaphor of the mountain. I try to remember it and write it.

For my master the martial art is like a mountain and the journey (life) leads us to the Summit. But as a real mountain, one side is Rocky and the other hilly, a cold side, the other sunny. When you prepare for Ascension, from below, You can have an overview and decide how you want to climb: for the quickest and most direct trail slow and sweet. It is at this stage that, in fact, We decide what is our goal: We want to enjoy the view and learn something about the local flora and fauna or prefer to acquire the techniques that allow us to arrive at the top even in the most adverse conditions?

And here is the crux of the matter, jutsu means a method, technique(1), its aim is explicitly functional. Across the end of the do, that means via, Trail(1), is to achieve a certain level of introspection, a profound experience of reality.(2)

In 19th century Japan, with the era of samurai at sunset, the culture changed and technology rendered obsolete, in one way or another, the traditional fighting arts. People wanted to continue to practice martial arts but had to move its attention: This new generation chose as main purpose the self-improvement and spiritual elevation.(2) Then this change in goal resulted in a restructuring, more or less marked, the technical background of the disciplines that, in fact, they no longer had as a priority the efficacy.

We come, At last, Parkour. I think our discipline is in a privileged position compared to Japanese martial arts. The jutsu of parkour, In fact, does not consist in a set of techniques to luxate the joints or behead opponents, but in a general system to overcome obstacles in the environment that you will cross. It is therefore clear that the jutsu parkour can be applied at its most utilitarian without having to breach their ethical principles (or without any legal consequences). Practice jutsu means, For me, draw paths in continuity from a starting point to a predetermined arrival, paying attention:

  • To apply the right series of movements (to avoid wasting energy or time)
  • The harmony of movements that follow each other (because by the fluidity of the succession of muscular tension derives the effectiveness of a series of movements)
  • To ensure low noise impacts (Why "no sound, not shock ")

And the do? Well, the spiritual side of parkour is in overcoming the mental limits, as well as in the continuous strengthening of one's will to progress. Work on do in parkour, For me, is:

  • To complete particularly strenuous conditioning exercises (from a physical point of view but, especially, from the mental) What I propose (to anneal my willpower)
  • Run individual risky movements, that is difficult and potentially dangerous motoriamente (to develop concentration and clarity in times of stress)
  • Refine the techniques (to reply to an aesthetic and functional)

It's good to remember, Anyway, There is a common base at two practices: physical conditioning. Neither the justu Neither the do have a way to express itself if the body is not ready to face obstacles.

For against, There are some specific consequences of the two training modes. Train the jutsu door as a result greater adaptability, a high degree of improvisation as well as the opportunity to see the city as a whole is rich in opportunity and not as a series of rooms ponds and steps required. On the other hand, develop the do refine your precision and more control and "unlock" passages deemed unthinkable.

Let us return for a moment to Japan: considering the jutsu as functional mode and the do tied more to reason to engage in combat, We realize that very few were able to harmonise the two components. These rare circumstances do not justify the conviction that this was the norm or that, from a historical point of view, the jutsu It was identical to the do high ethical purposes.(3)

The fortune of Parkour is right here: the do and the jutsu of parkour are not so difficult to integrate such as those in Japanese fighting arts. Is it possible, for us, develop the two together: relying on the do to develop and give way to a tracked and traced to exit from a specialist or overly aesthetic research.

Notes:

  1. From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
  2. To Do vs Jutsu, Jeff Brooks
  3. From the ancient martial arts, Rats Westbrook

What else would you like to share?

All names stated have been changed and locations will not be mentioned to protect the author and their anonymity.

Alright so it’s story time.

A couple of months ago I opened Facebook to find that I had a new friend request. Now, I normally have a rule where I only accept requests from people I actually know or have met. However, I saw that this guy, let’s call him Arnold, did parkour. At the time I had been going to many different parkour events and figured it was possible I could’ve met Arnold and have completely forgotten. (I’m horrible at remembering new people). So when I saw that we had many mutual friends, I figured, “Why not?” And accepted his request.

A few days later I got a Facebook Message from Arnold. He just wanted to say hi and say how cool it was that I was a girl who trained parkour (insert facepalm here). Naturally, I decided to be nice and replied. For a while we talked about parkour and training and the conversation was pretty normal.

Things started to get mildly creepy when Arnold invited me to come visit him. He wanted me to meet his family and train with him. A part of me wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, after all, I’ve parkour-floored it with many people who I haven’t always known. Still, the guy does live on the opposite side of the globe, so I did my best to politely decline without hurting his feelings. I didn’t want to seem like a complete jerk, after all it could’ve been normal in his culture to do things like that.

And then, inevitably, Arnold asked me if I had a boyfriend. Keep in mind I now know that I have never met Arnold and he also lives in a completely different hemisphere. (AKA no way for us to even meet let alone date). I told him, no I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I was too busy with school work to focus on having a relationship.

This is when everything starts to go downhill.

Arnold proceeds to shower me with flattery saying how smart I am, how beautiful I am, how it’s such a shame I’m single and I need to find someone who appreciates finding a girl who trains parkour. (My internal feminist wanted to reach through my phone screen and give him a piece of my mind, but I refrained). I told him I appreciated him compliments but asked him if he would stop, since I 1. Was not interested in any way whatsoever, and 2. The only things he knew about me was what I was studying in school and that I trained parkour. It was at this point I was beginning to get seriously creeped out.

Arnold apologized and that was that. My school year started up again which meant that I was buried in homework, assignments, projects, and enough papers to keep me busy until Christmas. During the school year I have a habit of ignoring messages and emails that don’t seem particularly urgent. Arnold didn’t like that.

He began to tell me that he wanted to speak to me, he wanted to hear my voice. He started asking me for pictures and videos. (Naturally alarm bells are going off and I refuse to give him anything). I tried to remain as polite and distant as I could, never saying more than necessary and trying not to let on any information about my personal life. I hoped he would get the message and leave me alone. Of course I was wrong.

Then, he started using Facebook Messenger to try and call me. I never answered, of course, and he said he just wanted to speak to me. He thought my feels about him would change if we started talking. I said no. I wasn’t about to pick up the phone and talk to some random creepy guy I had met over the internet. No thank you. I’ve had enough lessons on stranger danger to know that was a colossally bad idea.

Finally, and here’s the punch line: Arnold said he wanted to tell me something. Figuring it can’t get any worse from here I tell him to go ahead.

Arnold told me he wants to marry me.

Yep.

You might want to read that line again.

Marry. Me. A girl who he has never even met. Someone who was just trying to be nice and talk about a common interest.

And he wants to marry me.

Why?

Because I fucking train parkour.

Yep.

Just let it sink in.

Because somehow that fact that I enjoy jumping on shit means that I would love to jump on his dick.

Yep.

Somehow part of me wasn’t all that surprised. And that’s pretty damn sad.

Immediately I’m on high alert, borderline panicking, because holy shit this guy is a creep and what if he tries to stalk me, what if he flies to where I live and tries to kidnap me. I barely know the guy but now I’m going back to everything I’ve said to him, trying to figure out if there’s any way he could possibly track me down. I don’t know what he does for a living. He could be involved with some illegal activity, he could be a drug dealer or a human trafficker. Do I fear for my safety? Should I contact the authorities? If I did, what would the authorities even do? What if I’m making a huge deal out of nothing? But what if I’m not?

Yes, I know that most of these fears are completely irrational but you never know what people in today’s world will do. And that’s the worst feeling in the world. Thinking that you’ve made a new friend, you share a common interest, that this person is someone you can trust, you can have a fun light hearted conversation with. And then shit like this happens. You begin to question and fear and watch over your shoulder for anything suspicious.

Of course I blocked Arnold on all my social media and I am warning my friends who have had contact with him to do the same. As someone who is somewhat paranoid like I am, I don’t want to brush this off as something insignificant. Better safe than sorry and all that shit.

My point is this: just because it’s not happening in your community, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And yes, yes, I have officially learned about the dangers of the internet and blah blah blah. And yes, I am probably never again going to accept a friend request from someone who I haven’t met before. But here’s the thing, I shouldn’t have to go through all this. No girl, who trains parkour or otherwise should have to go through this.

The amount of guys I meet in a year who want to date me simply because I “do parkour” is well into the double digits. I mean, I get it. We parkour girls are pretty bad ass. But we also put up with a lot of shit we shouldn’t have to.

I’ve been cat called and hit on and flirted with when I go out to train. I actively avoid going to local training spots alone out of fear that something will happen there. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So, there’s my story. If you take anything from it, try to learn that this shit does happen. I’m lucky enough to have found a community that doesn’t treat me any differently because I’m a girl. In fact, they push me and encourage me to be the best I can possibly be, and I am eternally grateful for that. But others aren’t so lucky. And my experience goes to show that it really can happen to anyone, even those who have an inclusive community.

Shit like this is what turns females away from parkour, and I don’t blame them. If I wasn’t as experienced as I am when it comes to dealing with sexism, I would walk away from parkour. Luckily, I’m too stubborn for that.
So please, men, keep it your pants and tell others that don’t that they can kindly fuck off. Cause if you don’t, I will. Someone has to, and if it’s not going to be you, than it’s damn well going to be me.

What else would you like to share?

A week of unusual as we would more often ! And c ’ is up to us to create…

Monday : I find a lot of kibble to chat in liquidation in a store.
Tuesday : I decided to ’ to buy some for donation to the SPCA of Quebec.
Wednesday : J ’ prompt people to make a donation so I can buy more pockets for the SPCA.
Thursday : Thanks to the donations of ten people, j ’ have enough d ’ money to buy all the pockets to liquidate the store.
Friday : I'll deliver the 18 pockets, total 144 pounds of kibble to cat for the SPCA of Quebec.

Every gift made me happy, as if I was a unique and special gift.
In fact, c ’ was an extraordinary gift. A deep thank you to all those m ’ who helped support a cause which m ’ is expensive. J ’ have already adopted an abandoned cat. I couldn't adopt them. But thanks to you, j ’ could feed hundreds. Thank you from the bottom of the heart !

C ’ was a week of unusual as we would more often ! And c ’ is up to us to create…